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Badminton can be traced back to the game battledore and shuttlecock, which was played by kids in ancient China, Greece, and India. When the British army occupied India in the 1860s, the soldiers grew accustomed to playing poona, which is similar to the children’s game but a net has been added to separate the players. The sport made its way to England where it was dubbed ‘badminton’ when it was played at Badminton, the country estate of the dukes of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, England, in 1873.
It was in 1899 that the first badminton tournament was held. As for badminton shoes, it’s not entirely clear as to when they made their appearance because most of the sport’s history is focused on rackets and shuttlecocks.
Despite the ambiguous origins of badminton trainers, there are several brands today that offer some of the best shoes for the sport. These brands are known for producing quality badminton footwear and gear.
What to look for in the best badminton shoes?
Best badminton shoes - November 2019
Each of us has our own tastes when it comes to choosing anything, including footwear. Some of us prefer wearing loose trainers, others prefer sporty-styles, while others prefer function over aesthetics. But in athletic shoes, like badminton trainers, there’s a common denominator that athletes look for which include:
When looking for a pair of badminton shoes, make sure to check out the outsole. The type of rubber should be soft and pliable. It helps the underside grip the smooth indoor court floor. The tread pattern on these shoes also permits multidirectional traction to ensure players can move swiftly without slipping. In some models, there is a pivot point under the ball of the foot. This feature helps wearers turn aggressively without torquing their knee.
With all the sprinting and jumping performed while playing badminton, players should look for a pair with reliable underfoot protection. Though badminton shoes are crafted with a low-profile midsole, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do its job in attenuating shock. The most common type of midsole used is ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam because it provides comfort and has some rebound properties. However, some models use proprietary cushioning technologies. For example, Asics badminton shoes are often equipped with Gel. This semi-liquid compound helps keep the foot comfortable and makes the heel-to-toe transition smoother.
When searching for a pair of badminton shoes, check if the collar and the tongue are padded. The plushness of these areas helps provide a secure lockdown and prevents your footgear from slipping off. Also, synthetic overlays, especially at the lateral and medial sides of the upper are also important. When the laces are cinched, the sides of the footwear are drawn closer to the foot, thereby providing better support during lateral movements.
Look for badminton trainers with a mesh top because playing can become intense and cause your feet to sweat a lot. Mesh allows air to cool the interior of the footwear while assisting in the dissipation of heat. The inside of the shoe should also be lined with mesh or soft fabric that helps wick moisture away and air to pass through.
The fast-paced nature of badminton requires players to be quick on their feet. Thus, your next pair of badminton shoes should not weigh your feet down. A pair typically weighs about 250 grams to 330 grams, which are considered lightweight compared to other performance footwear like weightlifting shoes that could weigh as much as 450 grams per shoe.
Another characteristic to look for in badminton trainers is its overall flexibility. You should be able to bend it at the forefoot with minimal effort. Meanwhile, the middle should not be as pliable since it still needs to prevent arch injuries. A flexible shoe can facilitate natural foot movements and smooth heel-to-toe transitions.
Top badminton shoe brands for men and women
Asics badminton shoes are classified into two: back-court and net. Trainers designed for athletes who prefer playing close to the net can easily be spotted by looking at the outsole. If there’s a huge pivot point under it, like in the Asics Gel Blade 7, then it’s for net players. Meanwhile, back-court players are recommended to get a pair with more layers of cushioning on them, like the Asics Gel Hunter 3. It has a full-length foam midsole, a layer of Gel at the heel, and a removable sockliner all working together to deliver shock absorption and comfort for the wearer.
What sets Mizuno badminton trainers apart from other brands is that it uses technologies from its running shoe line. Aside from employing cushioning units to protect the feet against shock, they are equipped with innovative features that promote natural flexibility and stability. A good example is the Dynamotion Groove on the outsole. These furrows are strategically located to ensure proper foot bending and stability during aggressive turns.
There are people with a natural bounce in their step, but when you’re wearing Yonex badminton trainers, you will surely feel a spring in every step. That’s thanks to the brand’s Power Cushion midsole technology. This innovative cushioning unit is so effective at deflecting the impact that if you drop an egg on it, it won’t splatter but will bounce back up fully intact. This bouncy unit provides comfort to wearers and aids in quick foot transitions.
If you’re looking for badminton footwear that offers a lot of top support, check out Li-Ning. Like most trainers for the sport, they are built with a low-profile sole unit. This type of construction keeps an athlete’s center of gravity low. It allows them to maintain balance even when moving quickly in various directions. The uppers of these trainers are equipped with synthetic overlays that not only protect the mesh against abrasion but also aid in foot containment.
Frequently asked questions
How much do badminton shoes cost?
Badminton trainers cost somewhere between $70 to $150. You can expect that pairs in the $100 and above price range are equipped with more technologies that enhance underfoot comfort, bounce, support, and even traction.
Meanwhile, don’t let the ‘cheap’ in cheap badminton shoes fool you into thinking that they are not worth every penny. They may not have the most advanced innovations, but they are still built to deliver traction, support, and shock-absorption to wearers at a more affordable price.
Here at RunRepeat, we scour our partner retailers to find you the most enticing offers so you won’t have to break a sweat. Just select on a shoe you are interested in and we’ll present you with a bunch of data about that particular pair, including discounted prices. You can get as much as $30 off on a footgear you like.
When should I replace my badminton trainers?
As badminton shoes are used indoors, they can last for months or years with proper care and use. But some professionals recommend replacing them after 7 to 9 months of use, especially when you play 3 or more times a week. The reason behind this recommendation is to ensure that your feet are protected against impact and the upper can still securely hold the foot.
However, even if you’ve only been using them for only a few months but notice signs of wear, it may be time to get a new one. Signs to watch out for include:
- Loss of traction even after clearing the outsole.
- Loss of underfoot protection against impact.
- Upper has become too loose and causes the foot to slip inside.
- Holes in the upper that compromise the fit and hold.
How do I keep my badminton shoes clean?
If you strictly use it for indoor use, your trainers won’t get too dirty. So a quick wipe down using a damp cloth will be enough to clean the surface. A moist rag helps remove dust from the outsole to keep them grippy on smooth surfaces.
One problem you might encounter is the stench. Perspiration can seep through your socks and leave the interior of the footwear damp. If not left to properly dry, it can develop a foul odor usually caused by moisture-loving fungi.
Several ways to deal with a stinky footgear include:
- Remove the insole then wash and dry them separately.
- If the manufacturer says it’s okay to wash the pair in the washing machine, then go on and do it. Be sure to air-dry it overnight, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
- If you can’t wash your shoes, make a natural deodorizer using an old, clean pair of socks and baking soda. Fill the socks with baking soda, tie it up then stuff them inside in each shoe. Baking soda is effective in absorbing the bad odor. Adding a few drops of essential oils to the baking soda can make your kicks smell better.
- Another option is by making a deodorizer spray. Using a small spray bottle, mix up equal parts rubbing alcohol and apple cider vinegar. You can add essential oils too. Close the bottle and shake the content before spritzing the solution inside the footgear. Leave it to air-dry overnight.
- Dryer sheets are not only useful for making laundry soft, lint- and static-free, they’re also great in dealing with bad odor. You can stuff them up inside the trainer, or if you keep your shoes inside a closet, just put one or two sheets inside with your shoes to keep them fresh-smelling.
Why is the outsole of my badminton trainer soft?
The typical compound used for the bottom layer of badminton shoes is gum sole. It is mostly made of natural rubber which contributes to its soft nature. Soft rubber is flexible and can expand when pressure is applied, providing a better grip on smooth indoor court floors.
Can badminton trainers serve as daily street shoes?
It is not recommended because of the soft outsole. The rubber easily attracts dirt which can cause loss of traction when playing on indoor courts. Also, if small rocks get trapped on the underside, they can cause damage to the court’s surface. Also, because the type of rubber is soft, it can easily get destroyed when walking on rough surfaces.
For a reliable pair of walking shoes, RunRepeat has various brands that offer comfort during long periods of wear. These brands include Skechers, Brooks, Asics, and New Balance.
You can also consider getting a pair of trendy sneakers. Athletic brands like Nike and Adidas offer a lot of sport-inspired kicks. There are also some fashion brands on the list like Gucci and Balenciaga.
Can I wear volleyball shoes instead?
Yes, you can use volleyball trainers for badminton. They both have soft rubber for the outsole, a cushioned midsole, and a supportive upper. However, volleyball trainers are more cushioned at the forefoot because players spend most of their time on the balls of their feet. Meanwhile, badminton shoes have more cushioning at the heel.
Are running shoes suitable for indoor court use?
Running trainers are constructed with sufficient cushioning to attenuate the impact from sprints or jumping. However, they are built to support forward movements. The outsole of badminton shoes has rounded edges that allow players to move in various directions effortlessly. The outsole of running shoes isn’t designed the same way.
Can I use my workout shoes for badminton?
It is not advisable to use training shoes to play badminton. These trainers are built differently because the movements while working out are not the same when playing badminton. The outsole of these shoes is hard and may not offer the grip needed for badminton courts. They can also leave streaks on indoor court floors. The midsole of workout shoes is not bouncy. They are firm because they need to provide the necessary support and stability for various kinds of physical fitness regimens which can include weightlifting.
Can I use my badminton shoes to play other sports?
Yes, mainly indoor sports like volleyball and squash. Most indoor sports shoes are constructed similarly: a sticky outsole, a cushioned middle layer, and a top that properly holds the foot during fast movements.
Are there badminton shoes that cater to specific court positions?
Not all brands offer this recommendation, but Asics does. According to the brand, back-court players will do well with wearing badminton shoes that provide more cushioning since they will be sprinting from various parts of the court. Meanwhile, net players will do well wearing footwear with a prominent pivot point at the forefoot. This helps them quickly turn without hurting their knees.
Are there high-top badminton trainers?
No, there are none. Badminton requires players to move in various directions and usually in quick successions. So their ankles need to be able to move freely. When a person wears something that covers their ankles, though they get supported, the movements become impeded. Also, by wearing low-top trainers, the leg muscles and the ankles get stronger with use. Some believe that wearing high-top shoes can actually weaken the ankles because the person will rely on them for support.
How should my badminton shoes fit?
The general rule is that they should not be too big that your heel will slip out and it should not be too tight that your toes feel pinched. The perfect fit depends on the wearer. Some may like it a bit loose, while others prefer a really close fit.
Just keep in mind that badminton is a fast-paced sport. You need to be able to move your feet quickly without feeling pain or your trainers accidentally flying off.
Are there badminton trainers for wide feet?
At present, no brand offers their badminton shoes in wide. The best option is to look for models with a U-shaped toe box. It provides ample space to accommodate fuller feet.
In some cases, people order shoes half- to a full-size bigger than what they need to alleviate the tightness at the forefoot. It may work for some people. If the footwear you obtained still feels too tight even after going up a size, it would be best to get a different model instead.
15 best badminton shoes
- Asics Gel Fastball 3
- Asics Gel Hunter 3
- Asics Gel Blade 6
- Li-Ning Saga
- Yonex Power Cushion Aerus 3
- Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion X
- Asics Gel Blade 7
- Yonex Power Cushion 65 Z
- Yonex Power Cushion 65
- Mizuno Thunder Blade
- Yonex Power Cushion 47
- Yonex Power Cushion 35
- Asics Blast FF
- Yonex Power Cushion 65 X
- Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion Z
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